Gordon's night attack on Fort Stedman
R.E. Lee’s last offensive against the Union army around Petersburg is recreated in “The Assault on Fort Stedman.” Confederate General John B. Gordon’s elaborate plan to capture a portion of the Union siege lines is explored, including the making of white strips of cloth, used to identify Confederate assault teams during the night attack. Elaborate earthworks, including chevaux de frise, and a water-filled moat bring the action of the assault to life, as the breach succeeds beyond Gordon’s “most sanguine expectations.” But the follow-up formations fail to materialize, and the Union counter-attack in the morning recaptures the fort and two nearby artillery batteries. Union commander John Parke’s quick reaction restores the Union siege lines, virtually sealing the fate of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Running time is 43 minutes.